Memphis survives Southern Miss’ in two OTs
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Chris Crawford scored 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in double overtime, and No. 17 Memphis beat Southern Miss 91-79 on Saturday to win its seventh Conference USA tournament title in the past eight years.
Crawford, the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the top-seeded Tigers (30-4) up 78-76 with 2:44 remaining. He also had a jumper and a pair of free throws in a 9-0 run by Memphis soon after that finally put the game away.
BRACKET PREDICTION: NCAA tourney field
Daveon Boardingham scored 19 points and Jonathan Mills had 15 points and 17 rebounds for second-seeded Southern Miss (25-9), which nearly clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Instead, the Golden Eagles must hope to get their second straight at-large bid on Sunday.
Dwayne Davis hit one of two free throws after Crawford’s 3-pointer, and Thomas and Crawford then hit back-to-back jumpers for Memphis. Jackson then stripped Davis and ran out for a two-handed slam to make it 84-77 with 44.2 seconds left.
After letting Southern Miss come back from seven down in the final minute of regulation by missing free throws, Memphis made enough to close it out in double overtime.
The Golden Eagles were unable to take advantage of a chance to take the lead late in regulation after Shaq Goodwin was called for a flagrant foul when his right arm swung and inadvertently connected with Mills’ cheek. Mills missed one of two free throws with 1:59 left, Jerrold Brooks missed the front end of the resulting 1-and-1 and Watson made only one of two foul shots after Southern Miss also got to retain possession.
Crawford, the star of Memphis’ first two tournament wins, immediately expanded the Tigers’ one-point lead with back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 60-53 with 38.3 seconds left in regulation.
Brooks answered right away with his own 3 at the other end, and Mills had two straight putbacks — the second after Geron Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Joe Jackson also missed the front end of a one-and-one with 4.4 seconds left, … [For more on Memphis survives Southern Miss' in two overtimes to win C-USA, NCAA bid, click here.]